The Istanbul Financial Center has been attracting the attention of financial technology (fintech) companies recently. Nigel Verdon, co-founder and CEO of U.K.-based Railsbank, one of the world giants interested in Turkey's fintech ecosystem, said they are currently looking into the Turkish market.
Istanbul Fintech Week has kicked off with more than 100 high-level speakers in attendance. In theisevent organized by the financial innovation platform KOOPHub, Istanbul and the Turkish market have received great interest. Welcoming companies from dozens of countries, the event aims to develop the financial innovation ecosystem in Turkey, Eastern Europe, Eurasia and the Middle East. Fintech Week has brought together financial technologies and fintechs, which could serve as one of the most important strengths of Istanbul on its way to becoming a financial hub.
S. Iswaran, Singapore's minister of informatics and cybersecurity, one of the fastest developing countries in financial technologies, said financial technologies require collaboration among the government, the private sector and talented entrepreneurs, adding that they are applying this system in Singapore. "Currently, the share of services, insurance and banking in national income in my country is over 31 percent, while this ratio is around 25 percent in retail," he added, pointing to the possibility that fintech will lead to difficulties in the future. "The problematic part will be about cybersecurity and ensuring customer safety. We need to ensure personal safety and make transactions 100 percent safe," Iswaran continued.
Sinem Cantürk, the KPMG financial services sector leader, said Istanbul's most important chance to become a financial center is technology and fintechs. Noting that Istanbul has a great advantage if necessary incentives and legal infrastructure are established, Cantürk stressed now is the time to take action due to the ongoing Brexit process. "Frankfurt is setting up serious fintech funds and giving incentives. If we take the steps in infrastructure, we can get a share from this process as well," she said.
Indicating that Turkey has invested $50 million in financial technology and $15 million in fintech, Cantürk said investments will further increase.
The U.K.-based Railsbank, which has a structure that brings banking services under one roof all over the world, will now expand to Singapore as well as the United States, the U.K. and Europe. "We are currently investigating the Turkish market. We want to get into a big market," Nigel Verdon, co-founder and CEO of Railsbank, said. Verdon added they are looking into what is in digital regulation and what kind of firms operate in the field, highlighting they have Istanbul in mind in this regard.
The Turkish financial technologies sector is relatively young but offers plenty of opportunities providing room for growth and innovation. The country's strong financial sector is also another advantage for the development and growth of the fintech industry. Turkey's geographic location also makes it possible for Turkey to become a regional financial technology hub in the near future. Today, most of the fintech investments in Turkey are carried out in the payment systems segment because of their openness to innovation and adaptability to news systems.
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